INTERNET AND PUBLICSPHERE Submitted by: Herocles Kharmujai II nd M.A. Mass Communication
The public sphere is the arena where citizens come together, exchange opinions regarding public affairs, discuss, deliberate, and eventually form public opinion. This arena can be a specific place where citizens gather (for example, a town hall meeting), but it can also be a communication infrastructure through which citizens send and receive information and opinions.
“Network for communicating information and points of view . . . the streams of communication are, in the process, filtered and synthesized in such a way that they coalesce into bundles of topically specified public opinions.” : -German sociologist Jürgen Habermas
Actors in the Public SphereThe Individual The individual who is concerned on a certain social or political happeningThe public The traditional understanding of the public refers to an imaginary group of people that are connected through their mutual interest in one or several issues of public concern.
Civil society Civil society is constituted by organizations and activities that have no primary political or commercial character, and are not motivated by profit or power.The media The media, provider of a medium to discuss issues.
INTERNET AND PUBLICSPHERE is a medium that has allowed The Internet equal opportunity for all participants to share information. In this sense it has functioned as a mass medium without the limitations imposed by other forms of mass media (eg. – development of web 2.0) Television and newspapers, in particular, require large and expensive infrastructures, and are therefore restricted in who can afford to own and operate them, Space and time. In this sense, comparing the net and other former media the internet is much a flexible medium of fostering public discourse on a wide variety of issues related to the common good.
Internet the Medium For a fully functioning public sphere, it is necessary to have discussion where there is two way flow of communication. Internet was originally established as cooperative, non- hierarchical, communications system, it was designed to facilitate the sharing of information both between individuals and among groups of individuals.
This capability, plus the fact that the underlying digital technology supports the whole gamut of multi- media communications, has made the Internet the first general purpose, interactive medium available to the average person (at least in the industrialized nations). As such, it seems natural that it have a propensity to foster activity in the public sphere.
Access With the popularity of the Internet and the Web growing daily, more and more people are turning to online media for news, information, and entertainment. Unlike traditional media, most online media sources offer their content via the Internet free of charge, which makes obtaining news online less costly than obtaining it from offline sources
Interaction When people get their news from online sources, they often can also ask questions, offer comments, state their opinions, engage in political debates, or communicate with other readers, which are all features that make online media appealing to readers.
1. Public spheres are spaces ofdiscourse, often mediated.2. Public spheres often allow fornew, previouslyexcluded, discussants.3. Issues discussed are often politicalin nature.4. Ideas are judged by their merit, notby the standing of the speaker.
Given that there are multiple public spheres, there are potentially multiple choices available for study on the Internet. Online social networking meets those four criteria, as will be shown. But that the four criteria do not make allowances for a radically different form of public merely because the public is online. An online public sphere is still a form of public sphere, online or not, and so must meet basic public sphere criteria.